PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — Doig River First Nation Chief Trevor Makadahay spoke of cooperation with industry as a keynote speaker during the BC Natural Resources Forum, which took place in Prince George from January 17th to 19th.

Presenting on the conference’s final day, Makadahay pointed out Doig River’s rich energy history. Oil and gas exploration on the territory started over 70 years ago, with the first wells drilled at Boundary Lake.

Makdahay also discussed the initial challenges he experienced when becoming a Doig River First Nation administrator.

“As the land manager in 1996, I was told, ‘Here’s a job, a pile of letters, find your budget as we have no money.’” Makadahay said. “That is when my vision of revenue sharing began.”

Makadahay continued by stating that over the past decade, Doig River has improved administration and generated independent revenue streams to limit or even eliminate dependency on the federal government.

It appears this plan is working as Doig River created its economic development corporation, Úújǫ Developments, in 2020. 

Functioning with regional governments has allowed Doig River to garner approximately $100 million in investments in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John.

The theme throughout Makdahay’s speech was constant collaboration and partnership.  

Makadahay said the overall goal is for all parties, including industry, First Nations, and government, to share in the sustainable benefit that energy resources can offer.

He concluded by directing attention to the job done by his council, including councillors Starr Acko, Brittney Brinkworth and newcomer Justin Davis. 

With their efforts, Makadahay says the council shares one collective voice. 

“It takes a diverse, inclusive community, province, and nation to create a future where we experience Kema,” said Makadahay.

“That is the focus of Doig council – we do things from the grassroots for the benefit of everyone, not just a few.”

Other keynote speakers during the Natural Resources forum included L’heidli Tenneh Chief Dolleen Logan and councillor Crystal Gibbs, as well as B.C. Premier David Eby.

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